Of all the things I was expected, it wasn’t that.
It never crossed my mind that Connor would think there was another man. Or, better yet, that that man was abusive to me.
But the way he said it, the look of protection and concern in his eyes…
I would give anything to be able to tell him the truth – I’m a secret agent, but I’m also just Emme, who happens to be falling for a cute doctor who treats me nicely and makes me laugh.
But if I tell him, I jeopardize him.
Better to walk away forever than to let something happen to him.
And yet, I’m not able to walk away, either.
What a mess.
Instead, I’m jumping in with both feet – I promised Shane there would be no problem, and there won’t be. I’ll just deal with things as they come, and as long as Connor trusts me, and doesn’t push me about my shadowy life, everything will be fine.
I nudge the door shut and shed my coat as Connor ambles through the flat, flipping on the odd lamp and drawing the curtains, making it feel for all the world as though this is a routine we’ve done a thousand times.
“Are you hungry?” He asks, turning around to smile at me. “I could run out and get something if you are.”
I shake my head, kicking off one shoe, and then the other, slowly, my eyes on his. “I’m not hungry. We could just have waffles in the morning.”
His eyes widen so comically, I almost laugh, but I don’t.
“No, no. I like… waffles,” Connor says, swallowing thickly. “I just… are you sure? After what we just said…”
“I’m very sure,” I say, as I cross the room to him. “I just want to be with you, and forget everything that happened outside. Or that’s happened in the last few days. Can we do that?”
“Yeah,” he says huskily, his hands gripping my waist. “We can do that.”
His lips meet mine, and I reach over and snap the lamp off again, bathing us in the dim light from the street below, then twining my arms around his neck.
He growls, low in his throat, a possessive, masculine sound, and I almost laugh at the maleness of it, even as his lips war with mine, his hands lifting my shirt, and his hands pressing against the bare skin of my back, making me shiver.
“Now,” he says quietly against my ear as he pulls away. “Let’s see about this injury of yours…”
I giggle as he slides his hand gently, so gently, from my bare back around to the skin of my belly, his fingers tracing my ribs, until he finds the injured one. His touch is as light as a hummingbird as he skims his fingers across my skin, raising goose bumps in their wake, and he presses a kiss to my temple.
“Ticklish?” he asks as I whoosh out a small giggle at his touch, and I nod.
“A little,” I admit, and he does it again, making me chuckle again.
“Hrm…” he says, and then stepping away from me slightly, he raises my shirt a few inches, and then bends over. Tenderly, he presses his lips against my bruised and battered rib, his lips caressing my skin.
And I forget that the rib was ever injured at all.
“Better?” He asks, straightening, and in answer, I lace a hand behind his neck and tug him, a bit forcefully, towards me. He frames my face in his powerful, healing, beautiful hands and kisses me, robbing me of breath, of rational thought.
We stand, pressed together for what feels like hours, until I feel Connor’s body bump against mine, propelling me backwards.
In the growing darkness, he threads his way through my apartment, his lips never leaving mine as he guides me back towards my bedroom. My heart is racing like an F1 car, and I nearly scream out as he presses me against the wall of the bedroom, his body molding to mine.
Oh god, he feels so, SO good…
His lips assault mine for a long minute, and then he releases me, and I nearly lose my balance from the suddenness of it.
With a growl, he teasingly shoves me onto the bed, my body bouncing up and down slightly on the mattress, my lips parted, my body absolutely aching for him.
We giggle as we fight to see who can shed clothes faster – I win. He got his shoe tangled in his jeans, making me laugh even harder and his gyrations to free himself.
But then, we’re both bare, and he lays his body across mine on the bed, his face only a shadow from the faint light outside.
“Since the minute I met you, I’ve wanted this,” he whispers, his lips blazing a warm trail from my earlobe to the hollow of my neck.
“Liar,” I whisper. “I bet you didn’t when I looked like a beaten, defenseless girl.”
“You could never be defenseless,” Connor says softly. “I know that. And yes, even with that black eye, I wanted you.”
“Pity. I didn’t want you at all,” I tease, and he growls against my sternum, teasingly biting my collarbone.
“What changed your mind?”
“Hrm…” I say, drawing out the sound. “Must have been the first time I saw those scrawny white legs in jogging shorts.”
He snorts, and I giggle again. “I have very shapely calves, I’ll have you know.”
“Prove it,” I shoot back, and he presses his body even closer to mine.
“Oh, I’m going to prove even more than that,” he says, and as his lips travel lower, I believe him.
Minutes or hours later, I’m not sure, we’re both sweaty and smiling.
“Do you want…”
“No,” he says, pulling me against him, my head against his chest, and I hear his slowly decelerating heart. “Go to sleep, little one. You have to get up in a few hours to make me waffles.”
I’m still smiling even as I fall asleep.
“I need to get going,” Connor says reluctantly from beside me.
Our arms and legs are tangled together, skin pressing again skin, and I groan, knowing I need to get going too.
“I wish we could just stay here all day,” I say, and he chuckles.
“Well, YOU can, at least. I have a double shift in the hospital in an hour, and I’m not exactly well rested,” Connor says, and I grin like the Cheshire cat.
“Hey, at least you’ve had breakfast,” I smile, and he snorts.
It’s true. We DID have waffles.
And then we had sex on the kitchen floor, ate breakfast, and then went back to bed together for another session of tangling the sheets.
I don’t think either of us are particularly well rested.
“Besides, I have to get going too,” I say sadly, sitting up and pulling the sheet around me, which Connor immediately yanks down again, starting a small tug of war which I finally win. “I have a buying trip today.”
“Where are you going?”
“Rome,” I say, sliding out of bed and walking to the closet to pick out something to wear to travel in. “I’ll probably be gone a couple of days.”
“Bring me back a Michelangelo,” he says teasingly, and I laugh as I slip on my dressing gown.
“Will do,” I say, and he slides out from under the sheets as well, his perfectly formed body illuminated by the morning sunshine streaming in from the windows.
God, he’s beautiful.
Like Michelangelo’s David, I muse as he pulls on his pants and fastens his belt.
“I should go,” he says, coming up behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist from behind, pulling me against him, my head resting against his warm chest.
“I don’t want you to,” I say with a small pout.
“Believe me, I don’t want to go, but obligations…”
“I know,” I whisper.
Trust me, I know all about obligations.
Two hours later, Connor has gone to the hospital, and I’m on the train speeding towards Gatwick Airport, a lovesick smile on my face.
I am going to Rome, I think to myself. It wasn’t a lie.
I just hid why I’m going.
To help a team assembled of CIA, MI-6, Mossad and Luekos intercept a bombing threat against the Vatican.
All in a day’s work.
God, I wish we could go back to bed.